July 23, 2024

Focus on Agriculture: Living the dream

Through a combination of social media posts, blogs and columns, Heather Lang shares how she and her family provide healthy, high-quality food in a manner that aligns with societal values.

Recently, I was asked to describe myself without saying I was a wife or mother and that hit me a bit differently. After all, as parents, it is hard for us to see beyond that.

Sometimes it is challenging to remember who were before having kids and who we will be after they leave the house.

As I thought about how to describe myself and what defines me, here’s what I came up with: I am an entrepreneur, passionate about our community, faith, family, farming and freedom.

Some of the things in life that make me happy are the outdoors, being organized, a structured lifestyle and knowing that I am making a difference and being appreciated.

As a young teen living in town, I had dreams of wide-open spaces, where there were more animals than people.

Fortunately, I have family that already had all of that and they were willing to let me experience that lifestyle for the summer. That was a summer of many firsts for me.

It was my first encounter with 4-H along with showing animals, driving a truck by myself, being responsible for the care of a herd of animals, learning how to drive a tractor and the proper technique for throwing and stacking hay bales.

I also learned the proper way to make and bake breadsticks, the classic monkey bread and how to properly set a table.

Most days started before the sun rose and ended long after the sun went down. I was exhausted, but also energized.

When I returned home after that summer I declared to my mother, “I will marry a farmer.” Fast forward to today.

We’ve been feeding families since 1906. Our kids are proud to be the fifth generation on my husband’s family farm where we reside in central North Dakota focusing on raising heritage-breed hogs and specialty small grains. We are a happy family sharing our life with those interested.

I was in awe of this beautiful lifestyle from a young age, which is why I get so excited to share our journey with anyone willing to listen. Yet I still struggle sharing our story because of the inner fight between my fear and my excitement.

I didn’t come from a farming or rural background nor do I have the same knowledge, experience or expertise as many out there — so why would anyone want to listen to me?

What sets me apart? What if I make a fool of myself along the way? These are still fears I face on a daily basis.

I started by simply sharing videos on my social media platform documenting what a day in the life of a farm wife looked like for me.

I wanted to have the public experience my lifestyle with me and learn along the way just as I was, while creating an organic environment where questions could be asked without feeling “less than.”

Since then, I have written blogs and been featured in newspapers, on the radio and by local news stations.

But I’ve found that most fulfilling for me is when I interact with members of the public in person, whether I’m teaching about agriculture in classrooms, at events or hosting farm tours.

Heather Lang is a family farmer in North Dakota. She currently serves as president of her county Farm Bureau. Follow her on Instagram at ndpiggytales.